Skip to main content

Caracal Model F Review

Caracal Model F Review

Caracal-Model-F_001

To buy a handgun in Michigan, after filling out federal Form 4473 you have to drop off a registration card at your local police department. That card is then forwarded to the Michigan State Police, which handles the statewide reporting to the BATFE. I received a phone call from a confused MSP trooper not too long ago who was having trouble with the make of a gun I'd picked up.

"It's a Caracal," I told him.

"I thought that was a typo," he admitted. "It's not in our system."


"It will be," I assured him.


The Caracal is produced in an unlikely location: the United Arab Emirates. While it was officially designed in 2005, it has not been available in this country until recently. The Caracal is now the service pistol of the U.A.E. and, more impressively, it was submitted and passed the grueling German Federal Police Standard and the German Federal Armed Forces Technical Purchasing requirements.

If it looks vaguely familiar to you, the polymer-framed Caracal pistol was designed by a team led by Austrian Wilhelm Bubits, who designed the Steyr M pistol and was on the original Glock design team. And in case you're wondering about the name, a caracal is a desert lynx.

Right now the Caracal is offered in two models—the full-size F and the compact C—and I obtained the Caracal F for testing. While it can be compared to a Glock 17 in size, the Caracal F is shorter in length and height, although it is slightly wider and a few ounces heavier.


The pistol looks and feels like it was designed and made somewhere within shouting distance of the Rhine; the parts all appeared well-made, and the slide-to-frame fit was very nice for a polymer-framed pistol.

The metal finish looks like standard bluing but is actually a proprietary finish called Plasox. This is a plasma-based nitriding surface treatment supposed to be resistant to aggressive environmental conditions. The pistol actually looks much nicer in person than it does in photos. My only complaint with the finish is that it is too slick; trying to rack the slide using anything but the slide serrations is a non-starter.

The Caracal does not have replaceable or interchangeable backstraps, as many polymer pistols now do. As the Caracal's grip is just not that big I don't think this is a deal breaker. Its grip angle is actually just a hair more than a Glock.


The front and back of the grip frame are checkered but not very aggressively. Magazines hold 18 rounds of 9mm and seem very well-made. The magazine release on the pistol is ambidextrous.

The rear sight of the Caracal is part of the firing pin unit. The entire rear of this unit, including the sight, is serrated. There is a large white dot on the dovetailed steel front sight of the Caracal F, and one just below the notch of the rear sight in a figure 8 setup (also available in traditional three-dot and a proprietary Quick Acquisition Sight System that places the rear sight in front of the ejection port).

The advertised and measured trigger pull for the Caracal is 4.8 pounds, which is excellent. The Caracal also has a low bore axis, and the combination of that and the light trigger makes this one very comfortable pistol to shoot.

My only concern before taking the pistol to the range was the position and shape of the slide stop lever. While slightly rounded, it is basically a horizontal triangle of steel that sticks out of the gun right about where my thumb sits.

I shoot everything with a thumb-high hold, and while I didn't have any problems with accidentally kicking up the slide stop with my thumb, my thumb is long enough to ride the slide stop. That means the Caracal is just one more pistol whose slide won't lock back for me. However, the Caracal's slide stop actually sticks out enough that a user can drop the slide with a thumb.

Some manufacturers are already making holsters for the Caracal (including the Blackhawk! Serpa), and I determined that the Caracal F will fit into just about every leather holster designed for the Glock 20/21 or four-inch Springfield XD. Kydex/polymer holsters are less forgiving when it comes to fit, but as more Caracals are sold, more manufacturers will start to make holsters to fit them.

I am a fan of striker-fired pistols, and liked the Caracal. As a brand-new design I think there are a few things they could and maybe will improve. The pistol begs for rougher finish on the slide or forward cocking serrations, and the slide stop seems oddly shaped, but this pistol is a shooter. I think the Caracal will be around for a while.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Teaching New Shooters

Teaching New Shooters

Julie Golob of Team Smith & Wesson guest stars, joining Jim and Scott for a discussion of how best to introduce new shooters to the sport.

Dan Wesson Kodiak 1911 10mm

Dan Wesson Kodiak 1911 10mm

The Kodiak is a long slide 1911-style semi-auto complete with 6-inch bull barrels and chambered in 10mm.

Pistol Skills Drills - Hardball

Pistol Skills Drills - Hardball's Headache

The Hardball's Headache pistol drill is very similar to the El Presidente drill with a higher level of difficulty due to two added twists.

Taurus G3c

Taurus G3c

Taurus introduces the compact version of their wildly successful 9mm pistol; the G3.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

If you're in the market for a 17-round, compact .22LR pistol that's feature packed, then the P17 is definitely an option for you.KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot Rimfire

KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot

Handguns Staff - August 14, 2020

If you're in the market for a 17-round, compact .22LR pistol that's feature packed, then the...

Guns are fun, and cheap guns are even more fun. Spend less on the firearm and more on ammo with these 10 low-priced pistols.10 Cheap Guns Under $250 Compact

10 Cheap Guns Under $250

Evan Brune - September 24, 2015

Guns are fun, and cheap guns are even more fun. Spend less on the firearm and more on ammo...

Kahr Arms officially broke ground on their new headquarters in Blooming Grove Township, in PikeKahr Arms Breaks Ground on New Pennsylvania HQ Industry

Kahr Arms Breaks Ground on New Pennsylvania HQ

Handguns Online Staff - June 04, 2014

Kahr Arms officially broke ground on their new headquarters in Blooming Grove Township, in Pike

The new Ruger-57 looks to put a charge into the 5.7x28mm pistol market—and you know you want one.Ruger 57 Pistol Review Reviews

Ruger 57 Pistol Review

James Tarr - June 05, 2020

The new Ruger-57 looks to put a charge into the 5.7x28mm pistol market—and you know you want...

See More Trending Articles

More Semi-Auto

The new Glock 48 has been specifically designed to be the “Canadian Glock 19,” but the end result is an interesting handgun that should be of great interest to Americans as well.Glock 48 Review Semi-Auto

Glock 48 Review

James Tarr - August 14, 2019

The new Glock 48 has been specifically designed to be the “Canadian Glock 19,” but the end...

The Springfield XD-M Elite 9mm pistol series upgrades the XD platform with four models and a number of significant new features.Springfield XD-M Elite Series – Four New 9mm Pistols for 2020 Semi-Auto

Springfield XD-M Elite Series – Four New 9mm Pistols for 2020

J. Scott Rupp - January 15, 2020

The Springfield XD-M Elite 9mm pistol series upgrades the XD platform with four models and a...

The American-made CZ P-10 F Optics-Ready 9mm is ready to take on the heavy hitters.CZ P-10 F Optics-Ready Review Semi-Auto

CZ P-10 F Optics-Ready Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - August 21, 2019

The American-made CZ P-10 F Optics-Ready 9mm is ready to take on the heavy hitters.

You don't have to spend a lot of money on a defense pistol to effectively protect your home and family.11 Best Defensive Pistols Under $500 Semi-Auto

11 Best Defensive Pistols Under $500

Brad Fitzpatrick - April 07, 2020

You don't have to spend a lot of money on a defense pistol to effectively protect your home...

See More Semi-Auto

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now